African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure

Lega figure (N° 22103)

Having belonged to a Bwami initiate, this African tribal statuette with a "z" body and a bird's head, is one of many others used during initiations. These zigzag effigies are linked, according to Elisabeth L. Cameron, to high-ranking Bwami women whose phallic-shaped headgear is also named nkumba. When the figure is carried upside down, it is then called mulima (bat).
Grainy patina, ocher residue.
The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were displayed, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these metaphors, the latter largely referring to proverbs. and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to submit to costly ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of the Bwami, the kongabulumbu, at great fees for families. Each of these initiations took place over seven days and included at least seven performances. Items "won" individually were then kept in a woven bag worn over the shoulder, in a basket for those won collectively.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyLega
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, cauris, plumes
Height cm18
Width8 cm
Weight0.25 Kg

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